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Review: STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO by A.S. King

STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO
by A.S. King
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Pages: 295 (HC)
Publisher: Dutton

“I am sixteen years old. I am a human being.”

Actually, Sarah is several human beings. At once. And only one of them is sixteen. Her parents insist she’s a gifted artist with a bright future, but now she can’t draw a thing, not even her own hand. Meanwhile, there’s a ten-year-old Sarah with a filthy mouth, a bad sunburn, and a clear memory of the family vacation in Mexico that ruined everything. She’s a ray of sunshine compared to twenty-three-year-old Sarah, who has snazzy highlights and a bad attitude. And then there’s forty-year-old Sarah (makes good queso dip, doesn’t wear a bra, really wants sixteen-year-old Sarah to tell the truth about her art teacher). They’re all wandering Philadelphia—along with a homeless artist allegedly named Earl—and they’re all worried about Sarah’s future.

But Sarah’s future isn’t the problem. The present is where she might be having an existential crisis. Or maybe all those other Sarahs are trying to wake her up before she’s lost forever in the tornado of violence and denial that is her parents’ marriage.

“I am a human being. I am sixteen years old. That should be enough.”

Overview: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Characters: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ | Plot: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ | Style: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

I enjoyed this book, but I went in having really high expectations. When it comes to plot and character development, I wasn’t disappointed, but the style of the piece, the voice, was trying to be in the ranks of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but didn’t quite reach that level for me. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a simpler read, even with the magical realism involved.

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